A vital category for many hardware operations, hand and power tools have the potential for powerhouse sales no matter the size of your business. Merchandising wisely, being knowledgeable and highlighting promos are just some of the strategies that can take this basic core category to the next level.
In 2011, Seth Howard returned to his family’s business, Howard’s Hardware Hank & Rental in Arcadia, Wisconsin, and gradually took over the operation from his father. One of his first tasks was revamping the store’s hand and power tool category. Howard expanded the section from 40 feet to over 140 feet and brought hand and power tool sales from $50,000 in 2012 to $317,000 in 2021. Hardware Retailing spoke with Howard about his best practices for boosting sales in the hand and power tool category.
The store’s hand and power tool category had accessories and power tools in boxes pegged on the wall. Howard added interactive displays, which he says directly contributed to increased sales.
“When customers can see and touch a product, it creates confidence and they are more likely to make the purchase,” Howard says. “And while we can’t put everything on display, we pull products out of the box for our customers when we need to. Even if they don’t buy it at that time, it builds a relationship and makes them more likely to come back to us when they’re ready to buy.”
Creating a promo section with clear signage increased sales and made the shopping experience easier for customers, Howard says.
“The majority of our hand and power tool products are Milwaukee, so I rework their quarterly promo deck to be customer facing and include only the products we are selling,” Howard says. “I put the printed promo deck in a binder for customers to browse; I also email a PDF to my list of contractors and put it on the homepage of our website. We also run Facebook, newspaper and radio ads and post promos on our social media channels.”
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